Gillum Questions Could Focus on Campaign Money

Gillum Questions Could Focus on Campaign Money

By Ana Ceballos. The News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — As federal prosecutors poke around at issues involving Andrew Gillum, they could be looking into potential “misuse or misreporting” of campaign money tied to the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee, according to Gillum’s attorney, Barry Richard.

Documents and information demanded in a federal subpoena, issued in late March, have been turned over, Richard said. That included records focused on Gillum’s campaign, his Forward Florida political committee, and information related to Sharon Lettman-Hicks, a longtime Gillum adviser, and Donald Sussman, a heavyweight Democratic donor.

“It’s difficult sometimes to gather these things,” Richard said, because a lot of the people involved with the gubernatorial campaign are now “gone.”

But as far as he knows, the information demanded in the federal subpoena has been turned over to authorities.

A Tampa Bay Times story Thursday disclosed the issuance of the subpoena. The full scope of the federal probe is not known, and being named in a subpoena does not mean a person is under investigation. But prosecutors could be seeking to gather information to present to a grand jury.

Regardless of that, the federal probe is once again raising questions for Gillum at a time when the former Tallahassee mayor seeks to use money from the Forward Florida political committee to register more Democratic voters for the 2020 elections. The committee had about $3.7 million on hand as of the end of April.

It also comes about a week before the Florida Commission on Ethics is slated to consider approval of a $5,000 settlement in a case stemming from Gillum’s time as mayor. Under the settlement, which will be taken up June 7, the commission would drop four of five charges of ethics violations related to trips Gillum took to Costa Rica and New York with a lobbyist and undercover FBI agents who were posing as developers.

Richard said the newly disclosed subpoena is not linked to those issues.

“This is not related to his term as mayor,” Richard said. “It’s related to his campaign.”

When asked if he believed the subpoena could impact the ethics commission’s decision on the settlement, Richard said, “I don’t think so.”

“It has nothing to do with the settlement at all. It clearly is a whole different issue,” he said. “They don’t have the authority, or the interest, to continue investigating on something they don’t have evidence on.”

In January, the commission unanimously found probable cause that Gillum violated state ethics laws for allegedly accepting gifts from lobbyist Adam Corey, a Tallahassee entrepreneur who is a former close friend of Gillum. The settlement was reached on April 24, which was after the federal subpoena had been issued, according to the Tampa Bay Times, which obtained a copy of the subpoena.

As to exactly what federal prosecutors are looking into with the subpoena, Richard downplayed the situation, arguing that anybody can “cause an investigation on anybody when people file a complaint.”

“Somebody will file a complaint of wrongdoing to the FBI, and then they issue a subpoena,” he said.

Based on the information demanded in the subpoena, Richard said prosecutors could be gathering information about a complaint dealing with the misuse or inaccurate reporting of campaign money. But he added it may not necessarily have to do with allegations of wrongdoing by Gillum, suggesting the complaint could be linked to a donor.

From those named in the subpoena, the biggest donor is Sussman, who gave $1.5 million to Gillum’s political committee in August and October of last year, shortly after Gillum became the Democratic nominee for Florida governor. Republican Ron DeSantis narrowly defeated Gillum in the November election.

However, Richard acknowledged he is in the dark on most of the case as of now. “They don’t tell anybody anything,” he said.

22 Responses to "Gillum Questions Could Focus on Campaign Money"

  1. Watch out for Chuck Hobbs a so called activist lawyer who is up for at least his 4th bar discipline. He sucks up to Gillum and Lettman-Hicks while screwing his clients over. His lawyer in response to the latest bar complaint stated he has mental issues!. Man that’s a HIPPA violation but true. He along with Gillum have continued to sell the community out. Gillum is dangerous because he is an insidious racist, crook and race baiter.

    1. Always playing the race card! Jeepers Creepers Ms. Freeman aka Letterman-Hicks or whatever name you decide to use to reinvent your damaged reputation, weak link on chain deflecting and pivoting true nature of the 3 card monte game. Unlike Georgia’s former Governor candidate, Gullible came to the game with baggage “undercover FBI agents” in tow and other pissed off donors fithy lucre, ironically now IS the target. Coincidence, no. Murphy’s law, yes. Small minnows in shark infested brackish puddle.. Silence is golden, lawyer up! Indictments coming.

  2. Gillum is in the cross hairs. Richards is NOT a criminal defense attorney and most certainly was paid from campaign funds. Maddox, Smith and Burnett are singing like birds, they cannot do the time. Gillums race has immunized him from real scrutiny and he was too dumb to get in on the real stealing like Maddox. Morgan is pissed!

  3. This storyline is trending toward indictment.

    Kudos to Steve Stewart for reporting the truth about Andrew Gillum while the media pundits overlooked the obvious signs of fraud and corruption.

  4. If I’m reading Mr. Gillum’s twitter page correctly, it appears that he just had a very nice vacation in Paris, France. Wonder who paid for that luxurious vacation now that A.C. has gone missing? Could it be some of the money that Mr. Morgan, esq. is complaining about?

    1. Esquire Morgan may want to double down on his blood pressure meds after reading that Gillum is in Paris… maybe Gillum has fled!

  5. It’s not standard procedure for an attorney to be attempting to even speculate on what the FBI may be looking for or looking at. Ask Dobson and Jansen; they do not do that crap to their clients.
    They proclaim innocence and shift or pivot the direction of the interview to a specific thing they are focused on to imply innocence of their client.
    Maybe Esquire Richards is aware Gillum was paying his attorney fees to Richards from the campaign money and Richards (not being an idiot) knows without that campaign money that Gillum can NOT afford Richards any longer.
    I mean its right there in the article beginning at the FIRST paragraph if you have an ounce of sense and a 5th grader’s ability to read between the lines.
    The only way forward for Richards is if Gillum’s demon-seed white daddy George Soros ponys up some secret funding to either Richards or Gillum. However all the big demoncrat money boys see Gillum as the lost cause that he is.
    Good article!!

    1. Furthermore: just to nail it all down…do ya think John Morgan (an Esquire himself) recently got a little upset on twitter because John realized Gillum was paying his rival in the attorney world (Richards) from money John Morgan raised and donated to Gillum for a Deamoncrat in the Governors Mansion…yeah thats what set John into such a “twitter rage”.

      1. Excellent point, Snidester!
        Morgan’s money gets “laundered” through the PAC and ends up in Barry’s bank. Ya just can’t make this stuff up any better!
        Sadly, no one to root for in this scenario…

  6. So, if I complain to the FBI about my neighbors and their unruly dogs, they’ll issue a subpoena?

    No… it doesn’t mean Andrew’s a target. Not at all…

    Where does Stewart find these “reporters’?

    1. Seems to me the “reporter” did a fairly good job of reporting. Most of it is information from discussions with Gillum’s attorney, Barry Richard, and his opinions.

      1. I agree. That’s why I asked what changed is that she was previously So Pro Gillum and now the article seems to be more balanced.

  7. It was frustrating to read the articles on Gillum by this reporter prior to the election as they appeared to be slanted Pro Gillum … what’s changed?

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